We are in uncertain times at the moment following the nationwide lockdown during the Coronavirus. At the Tunbridge Wells Chiropractic and Shockwave Clinic, we have decided to close our doors to help combat the infection and we hope that you all stay well.
We know that many of our clients will have ongoing problems with their backs. It’s one of the most common injuries in the world and something which can be difficult to manage.
Here are some simple tips that you can easily use at home which should help keep your back in good condition during the dreaded lockdown.
How to Avoid Back Problems in the First Place
There are a few lifestyle changes you can make if you are prone to back problems which can make a big difference. The stay at home instruction is a great time to start practising these.
1. Get Exercise
It doesn’t have to be strenuous aerobics or lifting weights to strengthen your back. You can certainly find great benefits from gentle exercises such as walking and low impact regimes like yoga and Pilates. A little every day helps and they’re easy to do.
The big advice from our chiropractic and osteopathic team in Tunbridge Wells is to avoid being too sedentary in the first place. Sitting around watching box sets all day may sound like your ideal relaxation in these times of strife but it’s not that good for your back health. Get up, stretch, bend, exercise.
2. Eat Properly
Diet is just as important as exercise when it comes to back health. Just because you’re on lockdown, don’t use that as an excuse to eat unhealthy food. Gaining weight puts pressure on your back so keep everything under control and choose healthy options like fresh veg and quality protein.
Avoid things like excessive alcohol, sugary drinks and foods and too much caffeine.
3. Sleep and Posture
When we’re relaxing too much we tend to slump. Make an effort to be mindful of your posture most of the time.
When you’re sitting, keep a relatively straight back and place your feet flat on the floor. When you head to bed, try to sleep on your side on a supportive mattress rather than lying on your back or your stomach. It’s by far the best position for a peaceful night’s rest and will properly support your spine.
4. Don’t Get Stressed
Most people don’t realise that problems such as stress have an impact on health and the back.
When we get over-anxious we assume bad postures and make poor health decisions. It can be difficult when you’re locked in at home and not sure what is going to happen in the future. Find ways to relax such as yoga and meditation or keeping in contact with friends and family and talking often.
What To Do If You Have Back Pain
If you do find you are suffering from back pain during the lockdown, it’s important not to panic. While this kind of pain can be excruciating, it usually passes in a few days to a week if looked after.
The first thing you need to remember is to keep moving as much as possible. In the event of an acute attack, this may be difficult. But as soon as you can get up and walk around do so.
Simple pain medication such as Ibuprofen will help ease pain symptoms. Applying heat or ice to the painful area can also help.
Once you begin to recover and can walk upright, it’s important not to put too much stress on the area by lifting heavy objects or overexerting yourself. But remain as active as you can. You’ll find it speeds up recovery.
Simple Exercises for Your Back
There are a few simple exercises that you can do to maintain back health during the lockdown. It’s important to do these every day:
1. Knee Bends
Your core or stomach plays a vital role in back health. One gentle exercise for this area, especially if you have just recovered from a back problem, is the knee bend.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your right knee gently and move it towards your chest. Hold for a few seconds and then lower to the ground again. Repeat this with the left leg and then alternate about ten to twenty times.
2. Abdominal Strengthening
Again, lie with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. This time have a cushion supporting your neck and head.
Relax and breath in. As you breathe out, draw your stomach muscles in towards your spine and hold for a few moments. Release and then repeat about ten times. This should help strengthen your transverse abdominis.
3. Leg and Arm Stretch
Come over onto all fours and relax, breathing easily. Your spine should be aligned in a neutral position.
Lift your right arm and your left leg, stretching them out in front and behind you. Hold this position for about 10 seconds and then relax back onto all fours.
Repeat with your left arm and right leg, feeling the stretch through your body. Repeat this about ten times.
4. Pelvic Tilt
This is a great little exercise if you have a little stiffness in the lower back.
Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract the muscles of your stomach and then lift your backside a little by tilting your pelvis towards your heels. Hold for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat about ten times.
5. Lower Back Stretch
This is another great exercise for releasing a stiff back. Go back onto all fours and relax. Take a breath in and then, as you breath out, push your backside towards your heels and with your arms stretched out in front of you. Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds before coming up again onto all fours.
6. Hamstring Stretch
Stiff hamstrings can exacerbate back problems and loosening them up a little will improve your mobility.
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Lift your right knee and stretch up your lower leg. Take hold of the upper thigh and pull gently back while feeling the stretch on the hamstring (the back of the leg).
Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat with the left leg and then alternate for about 10 repetitions.
7. Spinal Twist
Finally, for better mobility and to again unlock that back and make it more supple, the spinal twist is another great exercise.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your arms out to the side. Use a cushion under your neck if you need support. Keep your knees together and then bend them gently to the right, keeping your shoulders flat on the ground. Bring the knees back after a few seconds and repeat to the other side.
These gentle exercises take about 10 to 15 minutes each day and are ideal for maintaining back health.
We hope that the current pandemic crisis is over soon and we shortly reopen to help with any of your chiropractic or osteopathic needs. Until then, stay at home and stay safe.
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